Mary completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Washington. Her academic accomplishments include a Washington DC Human Rights seminar and her nomination as a Presidential Management Fellow (2008), publication in the UW Bothell Policy Journal (2008) and publication in the Intersections online policy journal (2009). During her academic years, Mary was inspired by witnessing the power of policy to impact positive change. While in her MA program, Mary worked full time and interned part time with the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County. Mary’s internship sharpened her skills while enhancing her knowledge of complex labor and workforce development issues. After graduation, and after publishing a thesis on alternative pathways to high school graduation, Mary helped found the social enterprise start-up initiative Housing Hope. This work later became HopeWorks Social Enterprises. After 4 years at HopeWorks, and after leading the launch of three social enterprises, Mary’s interests again brought her to a more direct policy role as she joined Workforce Snohomish as the Director of Service Delivery in 2014. Mary served on the United Way Snohomish County Asset Building Coalition (2013-15) and graduated from Leadership Snohomish County (2016) and the Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy (2017). Mary currently leads her agency’s efforts in managing public funding streams to create a highly competitive workforce aligned with business needs that promote economic prosperity in the County. Mary has a particular passion toward creating systems that help all individuals achieve their highest aspirations. In 2018, Mary joined the Board of Directors of Pacific Northwest Arts School on Whidbey Island, bringing her personal passion of building resilience through community access to the arts.
Mary Houston is a member of the Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy Class of 2016, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.
The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.